Sunday, September 14, 2014

The lab rats

The AIS has been conducting some research looking at the combined effects of sleeping at altitude and training in the heat. Two good friends who are both more youthful and athletic than me (and therefore eligible to be part of the study) became 'lab rats' for 3 weeks as they participated in this study. The general gist is they stayed in a low oxygen house for at least 9 hours per day (essentially sleep and meal times) and had treadmill training sessions in the heat. Other than that, they were told to maintain their normal training. It made sense that 1 week after completing the study they would see a big increase in performance (more blood volume). Sure enough, we got to witness this at Gungahlin parkrun on Saturday. Lou ran an all time 5k PB 18:57 (age grade 78.28%) and Stu ran his best parkrun time 16:51 (age grade (85.46%). The results from the study are still being analysed. For both Lou and Stu, they lost body fat despite eating well (not that Stu ever had much to lose!), so no doubt the weight change was also an assisting factor in their performance. They are both lining up on 27 September for the Centenary 101 teams challenge, combining with Elizabeth (another lab rat) and DaveO (a freak of nature) to take on Vince Puffy, Jackie F, Vanessa H and Tom Brazier. Can the lab rats hold their form and win the event? It's going to be a great contest, one not to be missed!
Speedy lab rats
Back in the real world with normal oxygen and cool conditions, I'm still plodding away running 3 sessions a week, as well as doing a bit of cycling. I still can't convince the muscles to run much distance and so I continue to chip away with short sharp sessions of running interspersed with easy cycling. It is far from an ideal running training programme, but at least there is some subtle improvement. Inspired by the lab rats, I managed a Gunners parkrun PB. There is still some work to do to catch my Gindy PB, but at least the time is heading in the right direction.

Friends parkrun results

1          Stuart DOYLE*           16:51              VM45-49        85.46 %        
3          Louise SHARP*          18:57              SW30-34        78.28 %        
4          Bede WEBSTER         19:08              VM50-54        77.09 %
27       Janene KINGSTON     23:06              VW50-54       72.58 %
82       Skye FRUEAN             32:53              SW30-34        45.21 %        


  1. Congrats on the PB - you'll be well into the 22s soon (as long as you don't do a 118k bike ride the day before).
    Hey, Stu's older than you and you're athletic. Not sure I'd fancy living in the altitude room for 9 hours a day. Has Lou got an * next to her 18:57 - altitude room assisted?

    1. Thanks ET, I took your advice and used the * to denote performance enhancement ;-).
      Stu's younger than me and was able to meet their selection criteria based on his performance. I could not get close to meeting their selection criteria. However, I had no interest in living in a dorm for the 3 weeks they were required to.

  2. Progress Janene, unlike me going backwards, or at other times falling forwards. The light at the end of the tunnel is fast fading.

    1. It's all relative TF. I've forgotten what real progress feels like, it's been so long! Sorry to hear about your fall. It won't be long and you'll be rapidly approaching that light.